It a stunning turn of events, Pine Valley’s Kendall Hart (played by Alicia Minshew) has decided to write her first novel. As if the cosmetics guru (she is co-owner of Fusion, an upstart cosmetics company, ConFusion, the club on the first floor of the Fusion building, and the mother of two young boys, Spike with Ryan (Cameron Mathison) and baby Ian with Zach) didn’t have enough on her plate, Hart’s recent scare with losing the love of her life, husband Zach (Thorsten Kaye), forced her to take pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, and write. She wrote whatever came to mind, molding her heroine, Avery Wilkins, to be bright, brashy, sexy, gorgeous, and tenacious, with a voracious appetite for business success and the unsung need to belong.
But Kendall’s reason for writing was more therapeutic. It’s what got her through the trying times when Zach was missing. She never intended to publish it. That, however, changed in the blink of an eye.
With Zach home safe and sound, and Kendall’s relationship with Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) on the mend, Kendall suddenly gets contacted by Hyperion Books who want to publish Charm! A bit befuddled by the outreach, as the only person who knew about the manuscript was Kendall, or so Kendall thought, she shies away at first, fearing her mother, Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) might make unfair comparisons between herself and the heroine’s birth mother, Patricia Lucas, an aging but still beautiful actress trying to revitalize her career. Kendall learns that Greenlee found the manuscript and sent it to Hyperion. She is then soon talked into publishing the book, and wouldn’t you know? It’s a rousing success.
At the book-signing party, Kendall declares that the novel is not autobiographical, although the heroine, Avery Wilkins, owns her own cosmetics company, Flair, was adopted like Kendall, had a rocky childhood and had to make her way in the world on her own. We also learned that the title of the book, Charm!, which is also the title of Flair’s first perfume fragrance, was chosen by Kendall in honor of a charm given to her by Zach.
Kendall’s first attempt at writing a romantic novel is an easy read. It’s full of everything you’d expect a soap opera character to write about. Long lost siblings, a real mother who turns up unannounced, a kidnapping, love, lust, money, greed, backstabbing, and oh, a bunch of hunky men, which of course leads to a soap opera staple of late, a whose-the-daddy plot point. Although a tad predictable in parts, like you just know someone close to Avery that she trusts is going to stab her in the back -- or at least attempt to -- it’s still fun to see it play out.
“Charm!” is even educational. As Avery takes a step-by-step approach to creating Flair’s signature fragrance, we are treated to an articulate discourse on how to develop a perfume. There are top notes, a middle, a bottom note. “Note” meaning a scent. The book’s portrayal of New York City, where Flair is located, makes me want to return to my hometown to see what I’ve been missing all these years living in Los Angeles. We also follow Avery to Paris as she meets with a master perfumer, shares a tender, bittersweet moment atop the Effil Tower with her close friend and business confident, and engages in a romantic dalliance with a new man in her life.
Oh, did I mention there are a few romantic dalliances described in Charm!? Well, there are. Sizzle!
This is not the first time an All My Children character penned a novel. Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) wrote and published, “Having it All,” another Hyperion title, back in 1997. It’s also just another in a long line of soap opera-character themed or written books that seem to be hitting the bookshelves these days. As the World Turns fans will remember “Oakdale Confidential,” written by Anonymous, which turned out to be character, Katie Peretti (Terri Colombino) and it’s sequel, “Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed,” by Katie Peretti and the real author of both books, Alina Adams. Guiding Light fans know the recently published “Jonathan’s Story,” although written by NY Times bestselling author, Julia London, it does tell the tale of one of Springfield’s fictional characters on Guiding Light. All the books tied in to storyline airing on the show. In fact, soon the citizens of Pine Valley will be wondering if indeed Kendall is not-so-subtly writing about them! Additionally, watch for the perfume Kendall’s heroine, Avery Wilkins, so painstaking developed to be available in Sears and at ABC.com in March 2008. The fragrance is called, conveniently enough, Charm!
The question is who is the real author behind the book? Who ghost wrote for Kendall Hart? Soapdom tried to find out. In fact, we requested an interview with the real writer, only to be told by Hyperion that it was impossible.
Overall we give Charm! two very enthusiastic bubbles up. It’s available now at your local bookstore, ABC.com, and Amazon.com where it’s discounted. (It’s suggested retail price is $21.95). And stay tuned to Soapdom for our Charm! contest. Five lucky Soapdom visitors will get their own copy for free from us! Contest coming soon.
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